How to Improve Your Multitasking Skills
Does sleeping past your alarm for the second time this week sound familiar? After waking up the kids, you rush into the kitchen and attempt to quickly make up for lost time. You try throwing sandwiches and fruit into lunchboxes for the kids while eggs are frying and bread is toasting. All the while, your eyes are switching back and forth between the morning news on the T.V. and work emails on your phone. While pouring yourself coffee togo and simultaneously typing up an email, Coffee spills all over the table, and the smell of burnt toast fills the room. Does this situation sound familiar?
Unorganized multitasking can really add to your daily stress.
Multitasking Takes Serious Skill
Nowadays, people rely on multitasking just to keep themselves on schedule. However, research shows that the human brain actually isn’t very good at handling multiple tasks at once.
For example, we’ve all heard that driving while using a cell phone impairs your driving ability to a similar extent as drinking four beers would. This is because the brain struggles to split its focus to more than one task at the same time. Instead, it switches rapidly back and forth between the two tasks. When you’re focused on a text, you’re not really processing what’s happening around you on the road.
Tips to Improve Your Multitasking
Despite the aforementioned facts, modern life often require us to give more attention to multiple tasks at once. When you’re an efficient multitasker, you will find that you have lowered anxiety and stress levels. Here are some suggestions to help you be a more efficient multitasker:
Prioritize Your Tasks
Make a list of all the tasks you need to accomplish, then reorder them from most to least important. Try devoting your full attention to just the top two or three tasks. More complex tasks often require undivided attention.
Group Compatible Tasks Together
Some tasks are easier to combine together than others. For example, Listen to voicemails while stapling papers is very doable, but it would be difficult to listen to voicemails while typing up emails.
Make Time to Review Information
Multitasking may interfere with your brain’s ability to commit new information to memory. If you absolutely have to multitask during a meeting, make sure to set aside a time after the meeting to review the powerpoint or handouts and make sure you know what was covered.
Avoid Distractions While Completing Tasks
Maintaining focus on multiple tasks at once is hard enough as it is. Try to minimize outside disruptions can help with that. Turning off your phone, the radio or the T.V. can make a big difference while multitasking. Can’t concentrate in a public space of your home? Move into a quiet room so you aren’t distracted by other people’s conversations.
Save Simple Tasks for Downtime:
There are plenty of opportunities throughout your week for knocking out easy tasks from your todo list. Waiting rooms at a doctor’s office, waiting in your parked car for your kids or waiting for a colleague to show up for a meeting are all valuable opportunities. Set aside simple tasks that can be easily started and stopped for these free moments.